Quantcast Cheap vs. expensive VCRs? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
02-01-2022, 03:08 PM
Closecall Closecall is offline
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I have a Panasonic ez48v, a Pansonic AG-1980, a JVC SR-VS20U, and a Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U. I have been reading that the Panasonic ez48v is a terrible machine to capture VHS tapes on. However, when I am viewing tapes (VHS SP & VHS LP) the ez48v seems to give me the best image quality. The others seem to have either color/chroma issues, or shaking, and other problems and I am wondering if it is really worth all the money and hassle to use older machines that are supposed to be "better" but will break down and need more work to keep up than what its worth. Currently I am waiting on a TBC and ATI AIW card from LordSmurf which could change things, but still just at their base the ez48v is winning and I am very surprised.

Also running them through S-video into a Hauppage pvr pci ii currently on XP until new units arrived.
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  #2  
02-02-2022, 12:16 AM
timtape timtape is offline
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It's important to remember no VCR is new now. We shouldn't judge or compare used as if brand new. VCRs deteriorate with use and also just sitting unused. So a cheaper unit performing better than an originally expensive model isnt uncommon.
One tiny piece of tape oxide stuck on a head can be enough to ruin picture and sound on any VCR, and they all need repair and maintenance from time to time.
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  #3  
02-03-2022, 05:00 AM
Eric-Jan Eric-Jan is offline
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It's hard to say which VCR is better, early models had a steady/heavy(diecast?) framework, newer models mainly PCB's and brackets, HiFi sound (PCM) is a world of difference for quality sound, electronics did get better, the later/last models that where VCR combo's seem to be better for capture, also a DVD recorder as passthrough helps, Panasonic is generaly used then, compaired to a JVC VCR with "TBC" i still like my Panasonic DMR-ES35V (PAL) combo,
that said, it's good to try multiple VCR's or combo's (recorder combo's only, a VCR dvd player is not much of use) that's a good starting place, before spending further money, my ES35V (PAL) i bought new factory sealed, but was stored for several years in the atic, later with more knowledge, i saw the potential, and discovered it's features, only to surprise me even more, my guess is with a stable video signal from the VCR, even cheap capture devices will work better, it's only in the details from there on, Perfection there isn't because what looks good on a CRT looks worse on a bigger LCD/TFT screen, fine noise paterns become visible, but keep in mind, the compression after the edit process will smooth that out, so does composite and s-video passthrough slightly.
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  #4  
02-03-2022, 06:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Closecall View Post
I have ... a Pansonic AG-1980, a JVC SR-VS20U, and a Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U.
These can be good models. Condition matters. Where did you get these? If random eBay buys, well, you gambled, good luck. Odds are against you, regardless of nonsense claims of "tested" and "working" by sellers that usually know less than you do as a novice/newbie video buyer.

- AG-1980 is a beast, excellent deck when working, different than JVC (reason most of us own both Panasonic+JVC decks)
- JVC VS20 is a problem unit more than not. I won't touch these. Realize this model was mostly sold to gov/edu, and abused in those environments. 99%+ you see on eBay are from recyclers that bought from gov/edu offline auctions.
- Mitsu DVHS decks are fine for SP tapes, but usually pretty terrible for LP or EP/SLP. Main reasons is heads tend to wear faster, both video and audio.

Quote:
I have been reading that the Panasonic ez48v is a terrible machine to capture VHS tapes on
Correct. Pretty crappy.

Quote:
However, when I am viewing tapes (VHS SP & VHS LP) the ez48v seems to give me the best image quality.
Best how? Youneed to post some sample clips, attach to this post, not Youtube/etc. Lossless captures not needed, just convert to a H264 in Hybrid real quick. Attach that.

Quote:
The others seem to have either color/chroma issues, or shaking, and other problems and I am wondering if it is really worth all the money and hassle to use older machines that are supposed to be "better" but will break down and need more work to keep up than what its worth.
This is a false premise. Those better units are 15-25 years old, and still going strong. Many do need a quick refit, as anything you want to last needs maintenance (cars, guns, whatever), and can be good again for another decade or longer. That Panasonic is a disposable POS, and will not last. Most have not. When (not if, when!) that Panasonic quits working, it's done. Zero spare parts (ever), and the design of those disposable type units is such that a failure often cascades internally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by timtape View Post
It's important to remember no VCR is new now. We shouldn't judge or compare used as if brand new. VCRs deteriorate with use and also just sitting unused. So a cheaper unit performing better than an originally expensive model isnt uncommon.
One tiny piece of tape oxide stuck on a head can be enough to ruin picture and sound on any VCR, and they all need repair and maintenance from time to time.
^ This.

Furthermore, lots of random eBay units are in awful shape. The units were abused in use (oxide shedders, mold, whatever), and then even when not used (stored in excess high/cold temps, dusty, etc). Lots of eBay sellers quickly wipe off most external dust (not all), but you can see the crap in the nooks/crannies. And then the inside is fubar. I've personally seen units with dead spiders (unit FULL of webs), dead roaches, sand and dirt, etc. And then I've heard (legit sources, not heresay) where units have had things like dead mice inside.

Some years ago, I bought an electronics item, used from eBay, with an exhaust fan, like many electronics. I plugged it in, and it shot out a plume of mold spore. I was rushed to the closest clinic, with extreme breathing problems (anaphylaxis). So I never plug in anything used with opening and checking it. If a seller refuses to let it be opened (some moronic and illegal in the USA!) "warranty sticker", then he/she can take that crap right back. I don't want it if it's used, and I can't see the insides. I have no interest in swapping stuff (scummy buyers), I want to verify it's not going to send me to the ER (mold/etc), or catch the house on fire (or at least blow the circuit or UPS). Yes, I once had a bad ATI AIW card take out a motherboard -- so lesson = never use a card that was mailed in a mere envelope, it was damaged, period, the end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric-Jan View Post
It's hard to say which VCR is better,
No it's not.

There's a problem in current society, where a person throws up their hands, and states "nobody knows". But false. You may not know, but others certainly do.

It's very easy to say that a generic consumer model VCR will suck, unequivocally, not even an argument. And that certain known-good models of pro/sumer decks will be excellent. The only variable here is condition, and both have it. That skews comparisons. The key difference is bad consumer decks are landfill liners (joke only: please recycle e-waste) while the better units can almost always be repaired, or at worst used for parts to repair another.

Quote:
my ES35V (PAL) i bought new factory sealed
Most of my best av/photo gear is still stuff I bought new. Not anything used. Yes, my used gear is really good, especially after my refurb treatments. But it's not the same. And there's nothing that can be done about it, aside from renting a DeLorean from Marty or Doc Brown. You find the best you can, preferably refurb, or with the ability to send in for service before use. Cheap stuff you see on eBay are merely "refurb candidates", almost never good decks already. Not a new item, open and use.

Quote:
but was stored for several years in the atic
Note that northern attics are hospitable and finish in most cases, while southern are hot and bare stud. So when somebody says "my attic", you better check. The difference can literally be 100 degrees (F).

Quote:
what looks good on a CRT looks worse on a bigger LCD/TFT screen,
Good catch. The OP here may be making bad judgments from a 4" preview window.

Quote:
but keep in mind, the compression after the edit process will smooth that out,
Not necessarily. It completely depends on the output. If you compress heavy, yes. If you compress better, in a way that retains details, then no. My studio days were a balance between detail and stream size over then-average broadband connections. I often had to tweak and re-tweak to get an acceptable output that was small, yet detailed enough that it looked great projected large.

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  #5  
02-07-2022, 10:44 PM
Closecall Closecall is offline
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Wow... Extremely good comments! A big Thank You to everyone for their valuable feedback. The VCR decks are from my Dad who has been helping me with my project of transferring our home movies to digital. My Mom passed away from cancer so this has become a passion for us and we want to get it right.

My Dad acquired the decks from multiple sources and so far most appear to be working well, but time will tell. Based on the feedback we will get all the decks serviced to make sure they are performing properly and use each for their specific purpose. Regarding the Panasonic EZ-48V, the capture sample we did was viewed on a 41" TV screen and looked pretty good. However, I am no expert, and when there is nothing to compare it to you tend to think it looks good when it really could look terrible when compared to a fine tuned capture.

Once I get all the equipment properly set up with the TBC, I will run more test captures and have a better understanding as to what I'm dealing with. Thanks again for everyone's feedback!

Little side note we did happen to notice that the company Imemories uses the ez48v for their services. Is there any reason to this in particular if anyone has any ideas? Thanks again!
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  #6  
02-08-2022, 12:56 AM
Hushpower Hushpower is online now
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I use an EZ-48 (brand new 2008 build in unopened box 2021) and it's great. S-Video out and ES15-strength line TBC. Winner.

I haven't compared it with a SVHS machine because you can't get them here and I'm not spending $700US to get one shipped from OS.
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  #7  
02-08-2022, 09:28 AM
msgohan msgohan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hushpower View Post
I use an EZ-48 (brand new 2008 build in unopened box 2021) and it's great. S-Video out and ES15-strength line TBC.
This is misleading as you're talking about the PAL model while he has the NTSC model, which is completely different: VHS capture workflow overview?
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  #8  
02-08-2022, 05:02 PM
Hushpower Hushpower is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msgohan
This is misleading as you're talking about the PAL model while he has the NTSC model,
OK, he hasn't stated that in this thread as far as I can see.
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  #9  
02-08-2022, 08:06 PM
Closecall Closecall is offline
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I believe the ez48v model is NTSC only
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  #10  
02-08-2022, 08:26 PM
Hushpower Hushpower is online now
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Quote:
I believe the ez48v model is NTSC only
My EZ48V is both.


Attached Images
File Type: jpg EZ48V PAL-NTSC.jpg (18.8 KB, 13 downloads)
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  #11  
02-08-2022, 08:27 PM
Closecall Closecall is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hushpower View Post
My EZ48V is both.
Oh! That makes sense then haha
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  #12  
02-09-2022, 09:33 AM
msgohan msgohan is offline
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Originally Posted by Hushpower View Post
OK, he hasn't stated that in this thread as far as I can see.
I inferred it from his other three VCRs being US models.
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  #13  
02-10-2022, 06:37 PM
Closecall Closecall is offline
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Just to try to backtrack to an interest I had a few posts back. Does anyone have any insight as to why a massive company like imemories.com would run ez48v units and, what appears to be, Canopus ADVC-110 in mass quantities for their production?
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  #14  
02-10-2022, 07:45 PM
Hushpower Hushpower is online now
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This’ll be good!
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  #15  
02-10-2022, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Closecall View Post
Just to try to backtrack to an interest I had a few posts back. Does anyone have any insight as to why a massive company like imemories.com would run ez48v units and, what appears to be, Canopus ADVC-110 in mass quantities for their production?
It's about maximizing profits, not providing quality work.

$200 VCR + $200 DV box = bare minimum gear to churn out $$$

Quality be damned. Any problems are "the tape's fault" (lack of TBC, etc). Stuff like dropped frames, audio sync, whatever -- not their problem. "The tape's fault". If you search Google for things like "imemories audio sync", you'll get results.

Read this: https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/...rlacing-issues
Quote:
I have about 10 VHS-C tapes. About half of them converted by iMemories have significant tracking issues, but they do not appear on my VCR.
It's a content mill.

Places like Walgreens use them as well, another company known for bad video conversion work. So you can Google all those companies as well.

Just hope customers are too dumb to realize the low quality. That's what LegacyBox does as well. Actual non-spammy reviews are pretty crappy.

The founder of iMemories is a non-video person, self-proclaimed "entrepreneur" (aka used car salesman). His knowledge of video was likely nothing more a generic VCR and home/retail VHS tapes. He had trouble converting video, likely due to a lousy card and VCR. Then he "discovered" a "new method" (use a DV box). It's just another MBA that views video as a dollar generator, and thoughts of quality don't enter the equation.

They clearly spend lots of money for low-rent "reviews" (Fiverr, etc).
For example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xEwDVfDg8E -- lots of these sort of fakey-looking/reading "reviews" online. The lady acts all ga-ga over getting the video converted, but even on a tiny iPad you can clearly see the video looks like garbage.

So do you want to give yourself quality?
Or just ram it through whatever, and smile at your new shitty quality video? (like that lady just did)

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  #16  
02-10-2022, 08:08 PM
Closecall Closecall is offline
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I knew I would get a great response but wanted to hear it none the less. It's basically exactly what I figured their aim was. But you definitely have a great way with words describing them.
Thank you haha.
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  #17  
02-10-2022, 08:11 PM
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I edited the post to add more info, so read it again.

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  #18  
02-10-2022, 08:13 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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I don't think the ADVC is that unusual digitizing companies to use, though maybe with fancier decks than this. There will always be some tradeoff between quality and throughput with these things for a business like that to be able to offer transfers cheaply and I guess that's what they've landed on. Most customers are gonna be plenty happy just getting video off tapes.

The EZ48 one is more odd though, maybe they found it an acceptable tradeoff for making dvds, and/or got a good deal on a ton of them. Not sure why one would use them if not for the dvd burning capability, they don't seem have the same jitter correction capability of the older panasonic models (and the variants from outside the US). (The video ic seems to be the same as used in the ati 600 USB dongles, international/older ones use panasonics own chips.) I don't see there being much point in using them purely for the video output as then one might as well use cheaper variants without the recording capability. Then again they seem to be joined with computers so idk.

EDIT: And saw LS' post linking people's experiences, so yeah, quality doesn't seem to be the top concern there.

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  #19  
02-10-2022, 08:25 PM
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I understand using DV boxes when we all had CRTs still, or small crappy LCD/plasma sets. But now? DV boxes spit out video with blocks. Add in a lousy VCR that also does consumer default over-sharpening, over-satruation, etc -- it looks awful, even on an iPad. I don't what sort of deinterlace they use, but it's clearly some basic drop-frame/blur/"smart" type junk in NLE or cheapware.

Chipsets matter, but so does on-chip software. It's like saying you have a new i7 processor, but you loaded Windows 95 on it.

If they have EZ48, I can assure you it's for costs+availability reason. VCRs are no longer made, and it's not hard to imagine buying out a warehouse of overstock.

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  #20  
02-23-2022, 01:53 AM
Closecall Closecall is offline
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While in VirtualDub, using different VHS machines, what would be the major cause of a constant line at the bottom of my video feed (attached image shows). It seems to be happening on multiple tapes and the older the tapes the worse it is showing. Cant tell if it is a signal issue or an overall VHS problem. I am using a Panasonic 1980, BCTBC10, ATI AIW USB.


Attached Images
File Type: jpg Line bottom.jpg (46.3 KB, 14 downloads)
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